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The Body Remembers

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If you have been healthy before, you can get there again, easier.

Research shows that muscles that have been strong remember how to be strong again. Your body remembers where it has been and what it has adapted to, and even years later, it keeps that adaptability the same way those that have been fat gain weight easier. (This is definitely one reason to start working out today.)

The mind remembers too, but it’s in a way that people see in marketing, sales, and in themselves.

The hardest part of getting someone to try your product is to have them try it once– so putting yourself at the crossroads to be seen and tried (like in the famous jam example) is a great way of getting people to cross that threshold.

Sales uses the method of the small yes to get you to a place where they can make a big sale by gradually increasing the level of commitment (increasing the yes) until you arrive at a place where it feels natural.

The same method we use to sell jam can also be used on yourself, on purpose. A small commitment today can turn into something you would never imagine doing, all by slowly adjusting how you think about it. A cold shower can turn into quitting coffee if you want it to (among other benefits), and you can start taking cold showers by reducing the heat gradually, a day at a time. Small stressors also increase your comfort with risk and will make you a more forward thinking, edgy individual.

You can try this yourself if you want by starting a small, inconsequential thing again and again until you are comfortable with it (trying a new food, for example). It will eventually become second nature and your increased comfort with it will extend outward into other aspects of your life. The result is increased adaptability, which means increased success.

But it starts small, and it starts today.

* Filed by at 6:43 am under experiments, random, taking action


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6 Responses to “The Body Remembers”

  1. Eric Pratum Says:

    Looks to me like you and Chris might have recently had a conversation about how change occurs…given the similarity of your two posts today. Anyhoo, for myself and for people who ever ask me, I always advocate small steps. Keep telling yourself you need to exercise, but never have? If you’re a hard worker, a hardcore reader, or dedicated to anything else, think about how you started. You began by going to work one day because you wanted to or maybe you just needed the money, and eventually, it became not just second nature, but something you loved. The same goes for new things. You start somewhere and build up. Unfortunately, it’s human nature (or seems to me it is) to jump right into too many things without thinking about whether you will burn out, can sustain your interest, or have a plan for where to go after step one. This is one reason that, when giving advice to friends and family, I usually ask that they demonstrate to me that they are willing to take step one first, and then, I will help them work through the dip, the plateau, or whatever comes next.

  2. John McLachlan Says:

    Funny too, starting small also happens with little bad things too. I bet if you’re a smoker it started with just a puff, you didn’t really like it but you puffed again and in very short order you were addicted.

    I guess it’s having the awareness that any activity is a choice and we need to be cognizant of the implications.

  3. CT Moore Says:

    I guess this is why we have the saying “It’s just like riding a bike.”

    But on the sales point of small-yes to big-yes, during WWII, the Japanese used the foot-in-the-door-technique (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot-in-the-door_technique) to co-opt POWs into sympathizing and then outright cooperating with them.

    And that, in turn, reminds me of your whole “free > cheap > expensive” things you posted about the other day. Get the small-yes with the free, and then work your up to loyalty/dependency, just like a pusher 😉

  4. Lindsey Simpson Says:

    I couldn’t not agree more about the body having a memory. I find one of the most important steps in improving your health or developing a new habit is by easing into it. I think that the likelihood of success is gradually reduced it people jump into something blind. Taking things one step at a time and having a plan is so crucial is reaching any of life’s goals.

    I absolutely love your line “it starts small but it starts today.” That one struck a cord with me.

  5. @alanrae Says:

    HI Julien

    I thought you might enjoy this link which is another take on memory being in the muscles.

    It’s about the neuroscience of Jazz – enjoy

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703467004575463921571354194.html?mod=WSJ_hp_editorsPicks_4

  6. Carl Says:

    I noticed this physically after I got back from my six week vacation in which I worked out three times (twice with you right at the start of it) and the proceeded to chill and enjoy going out for amazing food.

    After two workouts my body was performing almost better than when I had left, perhaps those two crossfit workouts changed my mental barriers which were holding me back more than the physical barriers were.

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